Reviving an Old Tradition—May Day Baskets
In just a few more days April will come to a close and we’ll begin one of my favorite months—May. I’ve always loved May because both Mother’s Day and my birthday fall in this month. I also love May because it is such a quintessential representation of spring. Tulips begin blooming, birds start twittering away in the morning, the days get longer, and the sun warms up the afternoons. Now this year, I have discovered another reason to love May—May Day Baskets!
You’ve likely heard the phrase “May Day” when referring to May 1, and maybe even heard it connected with baskets in some way, but did you ever know the history of this quaint tradition? At one point, from the late 1800s until the mid 1900s, the tradition of May Basket Day was a popular way to welcome in spring. People would gather flowers, candies or goodies and put them in little baskets to hang secretly on a neighbor’s or loved one’s door. Suitors might place a little basket on the doorstep of a young girl they wanted to court. It was a sweet way of showing someone you were thinking of them and wanted to brighten their day. Perhaps you remember May Day baskets when you were younger, or your mother had memories of making them when she was a child.
Eventually the May Day baskets tradition faded away, but today, with more people choosing to decorate their front doors beyond the traditional wreaths, we’re seeing cones of flowers and stem-filled baskets acting as door decorations becoming popular. And that has generated some interest again in May Day baskets.
I recently created several simple May Day baskets by rolling scrapbook paper into cones and decorating them with doilies, embellishments and ribbon. I loved how sweet and adorable they came out, and I plan on making several more to slip a touch of spring on all my family’s and friends’ doors on May 1.
The tradition of the May Day basket made me wonder about other ways to create these little surprises. The amazingly creative world of DIY bloggers proved that ideas are endless. As you can see, you could make May Day “baskets” from glass jars, paper bags, tin cans, berry baskets and more! The essential elements seem to be keeping it simple, brightening it up for spring with ribbons, bows, scrapbook papers or other embellishments, adding a hanger and tag, and of course, filling it with flowers. Check out some of these May Day basket ideas from various bloggers to create some yourself, and let’s bring this delightful old tradition back to life!
P.S. If you want to learn more about the May Basket Day tradition, check out this post from NPR.